Saturday, February 28, 2015


After watching Frozen probably the normal amount of times for a mother with a young girl (a lot) and reading some reviews, I wanted to acknowledge a few things that struck me the very first time I saw it.
  1. Sacrificial love: Okay, so everyone realizes this message. But, man, the movie does such a good job here! Uncovering the myth of love at first sight. Shining the light on true love as being self-sacrificial and not some mushy-gushy thing. And, a very palpable feel of internal struggle. When Anna hears her sister's cries as she sees a sword coming to kill her and then the camera turns toward Kristoff racing towards her for "true love's kiss", you feel the intense struggle Anna is facing -- life and self-protection versus death and self-sacrifice. Selfish or selfless. [Obviously she doesn't die, but she chooses self-sacrifice expecting death as the result.] Being well-acquainted with struggle, I literally weep during this scene every time! Because we all want true love -- the real, sacrificial Love. Anna is living out John 15:13 and 1 John 3:16.
  2. Initiation: I was blown away somewhat the first time I saw the movie because it is the common theme that love just happens. True love is uncontrollable and it happens to you. But here, not only was the true love highlighted in the movie not romantic love but was brotherly love, it was not passive but active. I mean, wow. Not the 'Oh, I'll lay here and let true love come and fix me,' but Anna physically sacrificed her very being to literally live out true love. It was her action that made it true love.
  3. "Love will thaw the frozen heart." This not an entirely perfect example. Indeed, God does not just thaw our frozen hearts. For we have hearts of stone that He actually replaces with soft, warm hearts of flesh. Either way though, our hearts are hard and need help. However, I still appreciate the emphasis on Love doing the work :)
  4. True freedom: For most of Elsa's life, she was isolated by fear. But then once her secret was out and she let it go, well, she was still in isolation. It was the love of her sister that really set her free -- free to be herself and live in open, real relationship. Again, Love does it.
There are many other positive messages in Frozen --  When Anna decides to go after Elsa after the coronation, that teaches responsibility ("I caused it, I'll fix it"); perseverance, kindness, Olaf, love changes Kristoff...

Anyway, after seeing Frozen for the first time, I said, "That movie had the most Christian messages of any Disney movie I've seen. Definitely my favorite animated movie!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Work First, Play After

  • We had a nice, slow, mostly uneventful week(end). However, we did celebrate Aolani's actual birthday last week. We finished school that morning, so we could watch her choice of movie (Frozen) before dinner, more cake and ice cream (leftovers from the party), two gifts, and a board game :)
  • We came up with some age appropriate responsibilities that we began on her actual birthday -- (learning to) sweep, brushing teeth twice a day (added mornings), other personal hygiene stuff, no more naps (quiet time now), and going to Children's church (versus the nursery). This past Sunday was the first time for Aolani going to Children's church (ages 5-10). Surprisingly, Micaiah seemed to understand having to go the nursery without Aolani; he was sad and missed her still though.
  • Here is what quiet time for Aolani looks like: First, she has to go potty before gathering her things (Bible, books, workbooks/crayons, toys, activities) to take to the couch. She is not suppose to leave the couch area, talk much, or play loudly. It's not party, social time; it's independent, quiet time. She reads her Bible and prays while I do my devotions and can play once I go to the office. This is just a general outline.
caught her dozing during yesterday's quiet time
  • A few weeks ago, I finally sat down to do chore charts ("responsibilities" as I call it) for the kids. I googled it and up popped thousands of samples/pictures. A lot of great ideas but nothing exactly suiting what I wanted. I'm not doing allowances right now, and I didn't want a checklist (which would end up being more work for me). I just wanted a visible reminder for them of what they are responsible for doing when the time of day comes or the need arises. So, I made my own. It took about a week of a little here, a little there kind of work, but it got done and pinned to our wall. Most importantly, the kids are proud of it and like to show what their jobs are! Contact me if you want a copy in Publisher format or PDF.

  • Micaiah burst out, "I don't like people!"
  • Aolani has invented her own language. It sounds like she just goes around speaking in tongues ;)
after a couple inches of snow last week (should have more in tomorrow morning)
with a neighbor, displaying their tiny snowman
three snowmen, the one on the left is a bear snowman :)

trying to wash dishes!
 using the new paint rollers
Her bunk is decked out with birthday decorations and gifts -- love it!
  • School verse: Proverbs 15:23 ~ It is wonderful to know the right thing to say and when to say it!
  • I am going to go over Psalm 23 this week because I mostly remember it from when I memorized it a decade ago or so ;) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Writing

I did a screen-free Sabbath yesterday and did not enter our office to get on the computer. And, it was so nice to slow :)

I am wanting to do that more but without forgoing my time to write and journal. So, I think we may both pursue writing on Saturday afternoons (Ricky, a book / me, this blog-journal) as long as we are home and able. I am not sure how this will practically and realistically affect my pondering frequency. Time will tell ;)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Hearts Alive... Aolani Turned 5!

  • We had quite a full week! My mom came in Thursday to help prepare for Aolani's birthday party (my dad cannot travel currently per doctor's orders). It took four women four hours to decorate for the party (which we had at a friend's beautiful and spacious home)! The birthday tea party was mid-morning on Saturday, Valentine's Day so it did not interfere with meals or afternoon naps. Aolani loved it and reveled in her party :) Ricky's parents met us at the party; we had a total of 19 people, 11 adults and 8 children. [More party details below.] We cleaned up right afterwards and 8 of us had lunch at our house. We had pizza and movie night that evening. My mom had to leave the next day, so after church we went with Ricky's parents to Charlotte for IKEA and dinner. They left Monday morning, and the snow was on its way ;)
  • Party details -- Since we had her party on Valentine's Day, we had heart-themed decorations. I wanted to go more with a sweet and homemade feel versus Pinterest perfection. I had the kids make many of the decorations themselves over the past few weeks -- foam glitter hearts, a painted heart garland, and heart suncatchers. We also used balloons (both helium and not scattered around), confetti, streamers, and heart doilies. She made her own paperbag crown earlier that week. We hung five pictures of Aolani (one for each year from birth to four) with clothespins from ribbon. We offered a sweet chex mix concoction with the ginseng tea (honey, sugar, cream); and, we had pound cake with pink frosting and pink vanilla ice cream. We served the tea on mixed sets we borrowed from friends. I organized two heart-crafts that were simple, fun, and mess-free (no glue or paint) -- Heart Bead Wands and Clay Smoosh Hearts. As for presents, I requested homemade gifts or books on the invitations (which the kids helped make). I had several games (clothespin drop, charades, bean bag toss, find the button) ready to play but none required much preparation; I just wanted to have some up my sleeve in case we had time and there was desire. However, we only played one game, the clothespin drop, before the kids dispersed to go outside. Regarding the order of events, we did crafts first while everyone arrived, then the tea party (kids were at a coffee table), blowing out candles, presents, cake and ice cream, game and free play. It's funny because everything turned out so happy and beautiful, even moreso than what I had envisioned, that it could've been Pinterest-worthy after all! ;)

Cinderella Legos (Ricky's parents)
Bike with training wheels (my parents)

  • School verse: Ephesians 6:2 ~ Honor your father and mother.
  • Verses to memorize this week: Psalm 16:10-11 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hearty Laughter

  • Just the normal events of another week... We had beautiful weather over the weekend, allowing us to spend ample time outdoors -- picnic, park, play :) 
  • Aolani turns five years old next week, which means I am having her first-ever birthday party with friends on Valentine's Day! [I am planning on letting each kid have three big parties while living at home -- ages 5, 12/13, 18. The others will just be family parties.] It is a lot of planning and preparing. Aolani is super-excited for her heart-themed tea party :)
  • I wanted to mention that Voice of the Martyrs has a weekly half-hour radio program you can listen to whenever here :)
  • I have to share these online videos we watched last night about a Cambodian sweat shop. There are 5 episodes, each about 10-minutes. It's neat to see others have eye-opening experiences.
  • Storytime: Teresa and I are watching a movie in the office and Ricky had gone out for guys' night after the kids were down for bed one night last week. Even though we could hear the pitter-patter of Aolani's feet and hear her voice quietly and rarely for a couple hours, we then heard a click-click noise (of a specific container in the fridge). Although I wanted to ignore it, I knew that I needed to address this situation and go parent (plus, it's 10:30 p.m.) ;) After checking out the state of the kitchen, I grabbed a flashlight and headed into the bedroom. It was dark, and there was a blanket hanging down covering the lower bunk bed. I roll over to it, pull it down, and see four large brown eyes staring at me! Clothes, cheese, tons of toys, bins, blankets, applesauce, wet sheets, water bottles... a full picnic-party in bed! Oh my! I am so glad that God allowed me to discover their deceit while they're young and the situation is funny compared to the deceitful teenager sneaking out of the house :)
Draw Snowmen Blind game -- so fun for us all ;)

  • School verse: Proverbs 20:3 ~ Only fools insist on arguing.
  • Verses to memorize this week: Psalm 16:9-10 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Little Undone

When company is about to come over and I am trying to pick things up and create order, Ricky always reminds me to leave some things undone, messy.


I was confused at first, but then he would explain to me how our guests are going to feel much comfortable in our home if it looks lived in and not perfect.

Every house has mess, things out of place, disorder, people living there. If people visit a perfectly-kept home, they feel the need to pretend and put on a facade in order to be accepted by you. But a little obvious imperfection liberates others. They do not feel the need to appear a certain way but can feel at ease, warm and at home -- real and honest relationships can be formed now!

And you? It frees you too :) Appearances can go; you can just be wonderful you!

Note: I am not opposing cleaning up some for visitors as that is a way of showing honor, hospitality, and that you simply want them there (they are worth the effort and are not intruders) -- you have made a way and space for them. They feel welcomed into your home. But, there's a difference between having things be "good enough" and anally perfect.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


  • A very normal week, but we have enjoyed spending time with many friends lately :)
  • I did finish 12 weeks of meal plans, which is... wow.
  • Micaiah wakes, crawls into bed with us, and announces, "I had happy dreams about the Bible and singing hallelujah. And playing legos." Aolani adds, I dreamed about a mouse carrying a giant suitcase across a bridge."
  • Ricky asked Aolani to do something for (like carry something), and Aolani replied, "I am your servant." ;)

Unfortunately, we had to cut the doll hammock down because she wouldn't stay out of it!
  • School verse: Matthew 5:8 ~ Happy are those whose hearts are pure, for they shall see the face of God.
  • Verses to memorize this week: Psalm 16:7-8 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Stunningly Beautiful Cycle

I keep thinking about this post and really needed to reread this one (originally posted on 8/19/12).

I'm caught in this cycle, and I constantly and crazily pray that I keep going 'round.

However, this is uncharted territory for me.

For days, months, years, I had been in a rough, round sequence. Let me tell you plainly -- there is a cycle not to join. It is no-good. It made me worn-out and tired. Here is the nasty succession: I would puff my chest, put on my broad smile, hum a cheery tune, and get to work. Doing, smiling, doing, helping, doing -- upbeat, of course. But, then, I miss a cue and take a wrong step. And another. And another. Until tears replace smiles and disappointment (with myself) crushes cheer, and I feel hurt. Broken even. And, knowing what to do and where to go and who to turn to, I run to Jesus for help and to get fixed. I am Humpty Dumpty. Being the kind Friend Jesus is, He embraces me, takes me in, and makes me whole. Now that I am all put back together again, I charge back out there to face the world (in my own strength). Repeat the cycle. I would go try to do stuff (you know, good things), get broken (by me), stumble back to Jesus wailing about how I screwed up again, get bandaged and (depending upon the severity of my messed-upedness) wait to heal, and then (naturally) I would go back out there. Over and over. Imagine a boxer or an athlete or a soldier. So, like I said, it made me exhausted.

Yet, I feel that I cannot totally disparage it and must (now) give thanks for it because... that (nasty) cycle led me to this one that I now revolve in. I don't know exactly how to skip first series to get to this second sequence, since that was not my experience. I'm certain that there is a way; I just have not thought about it much. [See below.]

Okay, moving on to the stunningly beautiful cycle. While I feel as if I have stumbled into it this past year, I still must comment on how it feels fresh, newly navigated.

The remarkable rhythm follows this simple pattern: I draw close to Jesus. [See below.] The closer I get to Him, the scarier I look. That cracked egg phrase* people frequently quote has got nothing on me (this shattered mess of self). I see me -- dark, wicked, sinful, ugly, broken -- and suddenly, I feel wild and flailing. The more I see me and my utter helplessness, my absolute, dire need for a Savior, for Someone Larger than Life to come and help me because I am sick and shameful and despairing... Oh, Jesus! And as a result, I cling. I desperately cling to Him with white knuckles. I will not let go and you can't make me! The tighter I squeeze, the deeper I bury myself into Him, and the more I firmly hold onto Him for dear life (for real life)... well, the closer I get to Him, and I am ready to repeat.

Now, how to get in? I'll tell you how I got in (not trying to; I just found myself in it one day), but it is so simple and cliche that you will read this, instantly mark this off of your checklist as already completed, and exhale with disappointment because this is not some new revelation that you wanted to try. Just to warn you. All I did was read about grace, learn about grace, embrace grace, seek to show grace, ponder His grace. This would often lead me to... Him. Admiring Jesus, gazing upon Him, listening to Him breathe, hearing His heartbeat. Not using Him but appreciating Him (I think that is the difference between the old cycle and this new one).

{There is so much theology here, but alas, I must go to bed!}

Bottom line: go for the gold! Go straight for the second cycle of stunning beauty. Get in and never get out!

I'm in {and THIS is the place to be},

*"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked."